Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Planet of the Lemur 10 Beautiful Little-Known Species

Most people have heard of the Ring-tailed Lemur and could suppose that it is the only species. However, there are many varieties of Lemur, a lot of which are beautiful and incredibly rare. Take a look in to the planet of the lemurs and discover for yourself the wonderful diversity of this lesser known family of animals.

he Red-Ruffed Lemur
This exquisitely colored species is critically endangered and part of its habitat in Madagascar has recently been made in to a National Park. This may at least ensure the survival of some of the species but as it is unable to tell where it is safe for itself, many of the animals live outside the park's boundaries and are still prey to humans as "bush food". Who could possibly bring themselves to eat this delightful animal in the full knowledge that it is nearing extinction?

The Blue-Eyed Black Lemur
Does what it says on the label! Its name gives the game away but this unusual lemur has blue eyes, which gives it a distinctly spaced-out look. Due to deforestation on its home island of Madagascar it is thought that there are less than one hundred of these startlingly beautiful creatures left in the wild. As a number of plant species evolved specifically to be spread by this species, a whole eco-system is at the point of collapse.

The Black and White Ruffed Lemur
This wonderful beast is not too good as a next door neighbor. Apart from the Howler Monkey it is thought that the Black and White Ruffed Lemur has the loudest call of all primates. It is the only lemur that has litters - all the other species produce a single young, one at a time. It is also notable for having a muzzle like a dog!

The Crowned Lemur

The Crowned Lemur has a lovely strip of red across its forehead, hence its name and does have the look of a small girl going to a party dressed as a princess! It lives mostly on the Ankarana Plateau of Madagascar and at the very most there are only ten thousand of them on the island. This is the lemur most likely to give birth to twins and it lives for around twenty years.

The Lac Alaotra Gentle Lemur

This beautiful beast is a bamboo lemur, even though it doesn't actually eat bamboo. It is the one and only primate that has adapted to living off papyrus reeds and it chomps it way through tem alongside Lake Alaotra. As such there are very few of these lovely and engaging creatures, although the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust does have a protection program underway in order to ensure the continuance of this (possibly sub) species of lemur.

The Golden Bamboo Lemur

The Golden Bamboo Lemur does, however, actually eat bamboo. Shamefully, it too is on the list of critically endangered species and it is thought that there are less than a thousand of them alive in the wild. It eats more than enough cyanide each day to kill an average human but how it detoxifies itself against the poison is not known or understood at all.

The Northern Sportive Lemur

The sportive lemurs are a whole different branch of the lemur family tree. They are strictly nocturnal and live in the trees most of the time. When on the ground they hop along in a way reminiscent of kangaroos. Sportive lemurs are solitary and although they look cute they will protect their territory with violence when they come across same sex interlopers. Like most of the species here they are endangered due to deforestation and man's blind and willful intrusion in to their only habitat.

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